This week I spent a little time in my nephew Elijah's special needs class at Field Elementary School in Mesa. All of the children in his class of seven ranging in age from 5-10 are non-verbal or close to it. Six of the seven have a low-functioning form of Autism, including Elijah.

I'm completely blown away by the class teacher, Judy, and all of the aids who work in this class. They are amazing with the kids -- knowing each of their unique personalities and idiosyncrasies so well that they often understand what the kids are feeling or thinking at any given time even though they can't communicate verbally.

When I found out they were in need of updated head shots of each of the kids and wanted to take a crack at a group photo, I jumped at the opportunity. I love when my passions for Autism and photography collide. Plus it was just fun to see Elijah in his classroom environment.

This is the whole class. As you can see, they have a 1-1 adult to child ratio:
This is Hunter. He loved getting his picture taken!
I loved how Judy got in on the play time at recess!
My sweet Elijah:
Little Matthew:
Tony having fun during circle time:
Counting the days of the month:
Parachute fun! I totally remember playing parachute when I was in kindergarten!
One of the twice-daily walks:
The in-class swing:
And story-time:
I loved being able to do this and am SO thankful for the great programs offered in the Mesa public school district. Thanks to all the teachers and aids who work day in and day out hearing those who don't speak!

This class has a couple fundraisers going and if you'd like to donate, you can do so by clicking here!
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